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21 December 2019: A Tribute to Jonathan Miller


In memory of Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) we present a double-bill of the late British director's 1960s BBC masterpieces, Alice in Wonderland and Whistle and I'll Come to You. Introduced by Gareth Evans.

Alice in Wonderland
Jonathan Miller, 1966, 84 min

"Broadcast in the centenary year of the publication of Lewis Carroll's novel, Jonathan Miller's television adaptation is both a completely logical translation of the book, and a radical departure from convention. Almost all other versions of Alice in Wonderland are aimed squarely at children, but Miller's intended audience was not only adults but those so familiar with the book that they would still be able to recognise what was going on even when his film was at its most elliptical. [...] Miller is careful not to create a clichéd 'dreamlike' ambience – he respects the logic of Dodgson the mathematician as well as the fantasies of Carroll the dreamer, and plays everything straight, photographed in crisp, deep-focus black-and-white by regular Ken Russell collaborator Dick Bush. Of all Carroll adaptations, only Jan Svankmajer's partly animated Alice is as faithful to the spirit as well as the letter of the original." – Michael Brooke

Whistle and I'll Come To You
Jonathan Miller, 1968, 42 min

"On a winter holiday in Norfolk, a solitary, eccentric professor finds a whistle carved from bone in a graveyard. Back in his hotel room, gloating over his find, he raises the whistle to his lips, heedless of the terror it may summon. […] A masterpiece of economical horror that remains every bit as chilling as the day it was first broadcast, this was the first, and arguably the best, of the M.R. James adaptations that peppered BBC schedules during the late 1960s and '70s, and an advance warning of a new tradition of Christmas ghost stories." – BFI